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Flea dirt: What is it?

by james on 06 Dec 2022
Flea dirt: What is it? It's undeniable that fleas are unpleasant. Your pet may become infected by them fast and experience discomfort for days or weeks while it is being properly treated. Look for flea filth to indicate a flea infestation if your dog or cat has never had fleas before but you've seen him scratching more frequently than normal. Dr. Stephanie Liff, medical director of Pure Paws Veterinary Care of Clinton Hill and Hell's Kitchen in New York, explains that flea filth is the feces of fleas, which are a mixture of blood meal and flea waste product. Yes, fleas and their feces are really unpleasant. Where Can You Find Flea Dirt? Flea soil looks like tiny black pepper flecks, usually rounded in shape. Your dog or cat's skin or fur may contain flea filth, which you can see. To split the hair and more easily uncover flea filth or the real fleas, run a flea comb or your fingers against the way the hair on your pet grows. According to Dr. Liff, fleas typically favor the back of your pet, particularly around the tail and up the center, as well as in the groin area and between the rear legs. The head and neck area is typically avoided, but not always. And on sometimes, she adds, you may only see dirt. This could imply that the fleas were either consumed while grooming (more typical in cats) or that they had previously been there but had lately leapt off. Fleas live in your yard or house for the most of their life cycle; they only spend a little portion of it on pets. Additionally, you might see flea filth all over your home. If you want to know if you need to treat these areas with your pet, look for further evidence in their favorite places to hang out.     The cause of flea dirt Dr. Liff explains that "flea dirt implies that fleas were recently present or are now present on your pet or in your home." Fleas can quickly turn into a major issue as their population grows, severely infesting your pet and the atmosphere in your home. Not only may frequent flea bites bother and annoy your pet, but some animals may be allergic to flea saliva. Adverse effects from a flea allergy can include rashes and hair loss. Some fleas may also be carriers of diseases that can infect both you and your pet. Therefore, if you see flea dirt, there are fleas hiding behind it. You should act fast to prevent your flea problem from getting out of hand. How Can Flea Dirt Be Eliminated? By getting rid of the fleas that caused it, you can permanently eliminate flea filth. Which flea treatment is best for dogs? The size, age, and general health of your pet can all affect the best course of treatment. To come up with a thorough flea eradication and prevention plan, schedule a consultation with your veterinarian as soon as you can. This plan may involve both home treatment and a topical (external) or oral flea and tick medicine for your pet. The easiest way to first remove the dirt is by bathing, but Dr. Liff advises that you should also get rid of any fleas that are already present to avoid further infestations. "I advise washing your pet once—and only once—to eliminate the grime, in either a veterinary-specific shampoo (but not a flea shampoo) or Ivory dish soap."Then, she continues, you should concentrate on permanently getting rid of the bloodsucking fleas. What Is the Most Effective Way to Get Fleas Off a Dog? Dr. Liff explained that there is an oral treatment called Capstar that effectively kills any live fleas and keeps working for 24 hours. In order to reduce the likelihood of having to deal with fleas and associated dirt again, you can use this time to address your home's flea problem. Remember that since the majority of fleas are juveniles that are maturing in the environment at any one time, you'll need to enroll your pet in a long-term prevention program to avoid a reinfestation.

Is It Safe for Your Cat to Eat Bugs?

by james on 02 Dec 2022
Is it okay for your cat to eat bugs? The indicators of the differences between these two species are all around us, so you don't need to be an expert on cats or dogs to recognize them. While dogs are regarded as "man's best friend" and are domesticated, there are some murky areas in the relationship between people and cats. It seems as though the cats took our offer of food and a comfortable place to sleep into consideration and said, "Ok, we'll take care of the rodents, but as for the rest of that stuff—you're on your own." Photos of cats frequently appear to depict a wild predator lying just beneath the surface, in contrast to images of dogs, which we may perceive as the embodiment of domesticity. The cat has been successfully removed from the jungle (or desert, to be more specific) in our contemporary environment, but we haven't been as successful in doing the same for our cats. Even the sweetest moggy is a little bit wild at heart, whether your cat is continually hiding in a corner waiting to pounce on your feet as you pass by or brings the spoils of an outdoor hunt to your welcome mats and carpets (or to your bed!). Cats are avid hunters. They enjoy pursuing, catching, and stalking. And having a food dish that is always full doesn't seem to lessen this craving in the least. When there is little wild wildlife available to them indoors, many cats will turn to insects as their next best option. Why Do Cats Chase Bugs? Chasing bugs is much more enjoyable than chasing a feather on a stick or a bell-filled ball. Such cat toys don't appeal to your cat's "inner panther" the way a living thing fighting for its life does, therefore it's not surprising that cats just naturally like catching insects. But is a cat's health harmed by this practice? Hunting frequently has nothing to do with hunger, according to Dr. Meghan Herron, a veterinarian and clinical assistant professor of behavioral health at Ohio State University. Because cats are "obligate carnivores," a small number of insects do not offer a significant supply of protein,  A real carnivore, also known as an obligatory carnivore, is an animal that relies exclusively on animal sources of nutrition for survival. Minks, tarsiers, dolphins, seals, sea lions, and walruses are a few more land and marine animals that are obligate carnivores. Numerous snakes and amphibians, as well as salmon, rainbow trout, hawks, eagles, and crocodiles, are examples of non-mammal obligate carnivores. Cats need a lot of protein to thrive, and they largely obtain their sugar needs through gluconeogenesis, a process that turns protein, not carbohydrates, into glucose. Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinarian in Fort Collins, Colorado, claims that cats in the wild obtain their protein by hunting other creatures including "mice, rats, birds, rabbits, and even the occasional snake." "As long as you are giving your cats an acceptable amount of a high-quality, low-carb cat food, they should be getting all the protein they require," says the expert. This bug hunting phenomenon so appears to have a behavioral rather than biological origin. According to Dr. Herron, "I believe that chasing and eating bugs is primarily both enjoyable and intuitive, as bugs are swiftly moving little objects that cats' brains are programmed to chase." "This instinctive impulse to hunt and practice predatory behavior through play is still extremely strong in domestic cats since they are not quite as fully domesticated as their canine relatives." But can your cat become sick from eating bugs?   Internal Parasites in Bugs According to Dr. Katie Grzyb, DVM, "internal parasites are not a [major] problem with consumption of insects." "Eating insects carries virtually little risk," There are several insect species that can transmit parasites that can infect cats, such as Physaloptera, or stomach worms, however these instances are quite rare. The digestive tract of cats may also become irritated by bugs. Diarrhea and/or vomiting are frequently the outcome. Contact your veterinarian if it is severe or doesn't go away on its own in a day or two. But according to Dr. Coates, some insect species that invade or reside on a cat's coat can undoubtedly cause problems. "While ticks aren't technically insects, they can spread a number of diseases to people and animals, including tick-borne disorders like tapeworms and anemia in cats. Dr. Grzyb continues, "bee stings and spider bites undoubtedly can create an allergic reaction, localized or anaphylactic, which often needs to be treated by a veterinarian. In other words, there may be more to worry about when the creature that is biting." Do Pesticides Make Bugs Poison to Cats? We try our best to keep insects out of the house, but when they do get in, many of us use insecticides to get rid of them. Pet owners might be worried about what would happen if their animals ate a poisoned insect because these toxins can be discovered on and inside the bodies of insects while they are still living. It turns out that majority of the time there is no need for concern. According to Dr. Grzyb, the dying bugs contain such a small amount of toxin that it is quite unlikely that a pet owner will notice any adverse consequences. However, when a cat comes into close touch with a pesticide, the situation may be completely different. A little research is always your best chance when pet owners are going to use any type of chemicals around the home, whether they be pesticides or other chemicals. Read the label, in other words. Dr. Grzyb advises owners to carefully study insecticide labels to make sure pyrethroids are not present because they can induce seizures, severe tremors, and high body temperatures in some felines. The use of roach bait, on the other hand, "I have seen several cases of, almost never creates any negative effects in cats; perhaps mild gastrointestinal indications, but that is it." Dr. Grzyb advises owners to call their local veterinarian or a Poison Control Hotline, such as the ASPCA, if they believe their pet has consumed a pesticide. When contacting these sources, it is beneficial for the owners to have as much information about the product as possible, such as the bottle in hand to list the active ingredients. Do Cats Miss Hunting? Do our cats miss the daily quest for game and only happen to find that bugs fill this instinct in a useful way? Or do our cats simply exhibit persistently kittenlike behavior? "Yes, I do think cats use insects as a hunting alternative. Since kittens are typically more lively, they may appear to "hunt" more frequently, but it is really just playtime, according to Dr. Grzyb. "If you observe cats, they frequently won't even digest the insect; they will hunt, swat at them, and sometimes even catch them in their teeth. Therefore, although we may never be certain, domestic cats appear to hunt to pass the time. Despite the fact that your cat's bug-hunting may be terrible news for the insects in your home, it all comes down to cats being cats and continuing to be wild-at-heart while having fun.

About the Wood Tick

by james on 29 Nov 2022
The Wood Tick: what is it?     Wood Tick - Dermacentor variabilis   The Wood tick, often called the American dog tick or just the dog tick, is a particularly concerning type of tick that transmits a number of diseases that are harmful to both people and animals. One of the most prevalent vectors of infections in dogs is the wood tick, particularly Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia (Rabbit Fever), and tick paralysis.   Wood ticks belong to the hard tick family and can be identified by their pronounced heads and hard shields, or scutums.   Identification of the Wood Tick   have a back that is gray with splotches. Deer ticks, which transmit Lyme disease, are frequently mistaken for American dog ticks (wood ticks). The Lyme illness is not spread by the American dog tick.   The body of the American dog tick is also oval in shape and has a flat top. The average female is roughly 5 mm long, compared to the average male, who is 15 mm long and 10 mm wide when engorged (with blood). When not engorged, males are only 3.6 mm long.   Known also as "blacklegged ticks," deer ticks are significantly smaller than wood ticks and can be identified by their, you guessed it, black legs.     Lifecycle of the Wood Tick   A kind of tick known as a wood tick has three hosts and has four unique lifecycle stages: eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults.   A tick must consume blood from a host at every stage of its life after emerging from its egg. A larva, often known as a seed tick, is a newly hatched tick. Tick larvae are only six-legged and only an eighth    Tick larvae can't jump, so they must stand on grass blades or perch on plants until a warm-blooded mammal passes by, at which time they grab on. The tick appears to be trying to stand up and grab the sky when it engages in a behavior known as "questing." The larva will transform into an eight-legged nymph after finishing its initial host's meal and falling to the ground.   Then, nymphs wait for a second warm-blooded host, such as a raccoon, possum, or other large animal, to pass along. The nymph will then continue to feed for a few days until it swells with blood. Once more falling to the ground, it molts into an adult tick.   The third and last host that adult ticks will seek out is a large animal, such as a dog or a deer, where they can feed, reproduce, leave droppings, and lay eggs. The female passes away after producing a few thousand eggs. The complete tick lifespan might last anywhere from three months to eighteen months, depending on the species. The typical wood tick life cycle in northern states is two years.   Habitat and History   American dog ticks can be found wherever there are domestic animals or cattle, including in heavily forested areas, shrubs, thick grasses, and shrubbery. The eastern two-thirds of the United States as well as the West Coast make up its natural range. They enjoy being outside in humid conditions. If a wood tick is discovered inside, it most likely fell off of the host animal after being engorged.   Ticks and arachnids, including spiders and mites, are most closely related. When the weather warms up in the spring, which is also when females deposit their eggs, they resume their dormant wintertime behavior. Adult females go dormant and live in leaf litter until the next spring if they are unable to find a suitable host during the fall. This is why, regardless of the season, it's crucial to check for ticks after being outside in the woods.   The wood tick has a variable peak activity period depending on where in the nation you live. Maintaining a groomed lawn and clearing the area of any leaf litter is crucial. Check out our article on 10 facts about ticks to learn more about ticks, including how to keep them off of you and your pets.   What to Do if Your Pet Has a Wood Tick   Don't panic, first and foremost. The sooner you remove the tick, the better because it typically takes a tick 6 to 8 hours after eating to transmit any diseases it may be carrying.   Always put on gloves and firmly hold the tick by the head with a pair of tweezers. The tick's head could loosen and remain within your dog or cat, where it could spread an infection, if you pull it by the body. Instead, pull until the tick's head releases while using a steady upward motion. After that, place the body in a glass jar and make a call to your vet. Ask your veterinarian about the tick and whether you should bring it in to be examined for disease.   Visit our comprehensive guide on eliminating ticks to learn more.   Once the tick has been removed from your pet, clean the bite area with an alcohol swab or another antiseptic before applying a dab of Neosporin to the skin. For the upcoming several weeks, keep a watch on your dog or cat to look for signs of an infection brought on by a tick.   Here are some recommendations for keeping your pet from ever becoming a tick host:   ● Always stay in the middle of the path when taking your dog for a walk, and keep an eye out for overhead tree branches. Ticks frequently land on their prey from shrubs and trees. ● Keep your pet away from heaps of branches or leaves and leaf litter. Another location where ticks like to wait in wait is this one. ● After returning from an outdoor trip, make sure you and your pet are both tick-free. Be sure to look inside ears, between paw pads, in the inner thighs where they meet the body, in any skin folds, and in females, around the vulva. Because they are warm and humid, ticks  ● Because there is more hair for the tick to latch onto, pets with long hair are more likely to contract ticks. After a trip or stroll, always brush your pet to get rid of any messes. ● Keep your yard's edges tidy and mowed. Keep your yard neatly manicured and free of clutter to help prevent ticks from entering your yard and attaching themselves to your dogs. Ticks prefer to live on the edges